Last year, Clay Bowler became active in politics. He didn’t support Billy Long, a Republican* running for U.S. Congress in his southwest Missouri district, so he started a website, began attending campaign events, and even started asking the candidate tough questions. But when Long eventually won, Bowler — and his website Long is Wrong — went away.
So when the FBI showed up at his door recently saying he was a perceived threat to the congressman, he was shocked.
“I’m not a threat to Billy Long,” Bowler, who says he’s a conservative, told KSPR on Thursday. “I find the whole thought very funny, because I’m such an advocate for constitutional rights that I would never do anything that would put in jeopardy those constitutional rights like the Second Amendment.”
Bowler admitted he confronted Long in the past, but never threatened him. “I never threatened Billy Long, never,” he said. Bowler showed KSPR the worst of his “confrontations” — a YouTube video showing him walking with Long and asking him questions, more of a journalistic inquiry than a threatening tirade:
But that reportedly didn’t stop FBI agents, accompanied by a local sheriff, from investigating him. But how did they get his name?
The local sheriff told KSPR that Capitol police are actively soliciting the names of possible threats from members of Congress in the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s assassination attempt. And he admitted there are more names his office is looking into — names that came from Long.
When it came to the actual investigation, Bowler told the news station the FBI was cordial, but it’s still worrisome that somehow he got put on a list and that local and federal law officials showed up at his door. But, he added, he was told he has been cleared and is not a threat.
“The FBI goes, ‘Don’t see anything wrong with that; that’s just part of holding our elected officials responsible and accountable,’” he said.
Long’s office did not return a KSPR request for comment.
(H/T: Andrea Shea King)
*Editor’s note: This story originally incorrectly stated that Billy Long was a Democrat.